Last week I briefly touched on building an audience to help leverage an artist for endorsement. (Find that post here.) In this post I will go over a few things you can do to help build that audience including choosing your platforms, what content and when to post it, interacting with others, and how to use your platforms interchangeably. Please note, I'm not a professional Social Media Guru with all the answers. This is what works for me and I'm sharing it with you.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platform
Lets begin by choosing the social media platform that's right for you. I see many people trying to utilize mediums they aren't interested in and thus do nothing for them. If you're not truly interested in building an audience on Vimeo, Twitter, YouTube, etc. maybe the simple answer is that it's not for you. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go over the benefits and disadvantages of each platform based on your personal goals. Choose wisely and put all your focus into boosting whichever platforms you decide to build on.
For example, a photographer would obviously want to focus most of their energy into building an audience on Instagram as it's the best/easiest platform to showcase their work. Another example might be a diy channel on how to build things with tools found in your garage. This would most likely land on YouTube or Vimeo as you can generate playlists on certain subjects and users will easily be able to locate all your videos in one spot or subscribe to your channel for updates. Mike Johnston crushed it on YouTube building an audience and starting his own company, Mikes Lessons, with the audience he built. Now he posts free content every so often to generate new subscribers on both his site and YouTube. Take a look at Mike's channel and see for yourself by clicking here.
Post Often - But Make Sure It's Quality Content
Moving on to content, your ideal goal should be to post daily, however that is a lot harder than it sounds. At first, set a realistic goal that you can achieve. Maybe posting two or three times a week is something you can approach with ease. Start there and slowly figure out a system to add more posts throughout the week. I'm still trying to figure out my system for social media posts while I'm on the road, but you may find one that works for you and your particular challenges. Next, make sure your content is high quality. Don't just post content to get a post out for the day. I'll own up to being guilty of this, it's hard to avoid. Higher quality content will naturally perform better, so avoid blurry photos or videos as much as you can. A good trick I do is ask yourself if you would be interested in your own post with no personal connection to it. If the answer is no, don't post it.
Time Your Posts To Generate The Most Traffic/Interaction
The timing of your posts is just as crucial as the content itself. This one is a bit tricky as you have to figure out what works best for you and your audience. For example, try posting at the same time on your designated days for a week. Do the same thing next week but move your posting time up or back an hour. Continue to do this until you find the sweet spot. You can do the same experiment by changing days that you post if you're not posting daily.
Once you've found a consistently good posting time, start paying attention to posts that outperform others. For example, assuming you have your posting time/days figured out, maybe an instructional post does better than a motivational one. Well then it's time to queue up more instructional posts and see if they keep outperforming the others. Take note of all posts that perform better than others and ask yourself how they differ from your other content. Find out what made that post special and try to recreate it.
Interact With Your Followers
Once you've locked in your posting schedule, it's time to start interacting. This goes deeper than just following other channels similar to yours. Join related forums and conversations on Reddit, Facebook, blogs, podcasts, etc. I'm admittedly very bad at using forums and groups to my advantage. DON'T BE LIKE ME. Leave comments on posts you feel strongly about or are interested in. Make sure these comments are worthwhile too. Don't try to get away with "cool" or "great" or "nice" all the time. It's not that you can't use these but other users viewing the post will be more inclined to check out your channel if you leave constructive feedback or an interesting observation to the posted content. Think about it, when you are reading through a thread, where do your eyes naturally stop skimming the page? What makes you take the extra time to read a comment?
At some point you might begin to receive DM's (direct messages). Don't ignore someone trying to contact you directly (unless it's spam of course), this is the worst thing you could do when building a channel. If you interact with someone who more than likely isn't expecting an interaction, you will have created a stronger relationship with that individual. They will be more inclined to comment on and like your posts and thus help boost your channel into more feeds. A personal example of this would be providing music notation to a few users who have reached out asking for exercises or help on a certain subject. I love passing knowledge on and respond to the best of my abilities every time this occurs on one of my channels. You should be approachable if you're trying to build a brand, I can't stress that enough.
Post Exclusive Content On Each Platform
At this point, you might have the ball rolling a bit. Another way to help boost your audience is to think of ways to make your platforms different from the each other. Give people a reason to follow you on different platforms. For example, if I'm sharing a photo on Instagram I may not share the same photo on Twitter or Facebook. The information presented in the post will be the same but different images will help prevent users from ignoring your posts if they follow you on multiple platforms. This may not always be possible, but try your best. Another example would be to host a full video on YouTube and generate unique 30 second clips for each of your platforms.
Pay Attention To Platform Specific Audiences
Pay attention to your audience on each platform because chances are you're posting for a different demographic between them. For instance, I've noticed my audience on Facebook is slightly older than my audience on Instagram and also favor instructional videos with breakdowns. That being said, you can use your platforms interchangeably. Direct traffic on Instagram to your Facebook or Twitter page. You do have to give them a reason though. Let's use the full video on YouTube example again only this time let's say you're trying to drive traffic to Facebook. Host the full video on Facebook only and direct traffic from all your other platforms with unique images or clips & links to Facebook. See how that works? It's not rocket science but making something exclusive to one platform can give you lots of leverage for content across all platforms that's unique and interesting.
In conclusion, below are the key points I discussed:
- Choose the platform(s) suitable for your needs and focus on those
- Create high quality and unique content
- Use trial and error to find the "sweet spot" posting times
- Interact as much as possible on as many relatable platforms as you can
- Direct traffic interchangeably across your platforms
- Pay attention to the demographics of your audience on each platform
Please bear in mind that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of articles on the web to help you that are written by social media professionals. Use your resources and don't get frustrated. It's not going to happen over night and figure out a way to make it fun for yourself. As always, feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.